TCM China:  

Introduction To Kansui Root (gan sui)









Kansui Root (gan sui)

Radix Euphorbia Kansui

Properties: Bitter and sweet in flavour, cold in nature, being poisonous, it acts on the lung, kidney and large intestine channels. Bitter and cold for purging, lowering and sinking, clearing the five and eliminating the water and fluid, inducing serious diarrhea and diuresis, the herb can release the pathogens from water drinking by excretion of urine and stools. As the herb is violent in action, toxic and tend to harm genuine Qi, it is only suitable for patients with edema and ascites due to excess syndrome. The herb is used externally to eliminate edema and dissolve lumps in treating furuncles and carbuncles.

Effects: Removing water retention, subduing swelling and masses.


1.  For edema and ascites, constipation and difficulty in micturition caused by excess of Yang, the herb is often used in combination with knoxia root (Radix Knoxiae), rhubarb (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) and areca seed (Semen Arecae) to bring about serious diarrhea, as in Pill for Relieving Ascites. (Zhou Che Wan). For patients with hydrothorax costal pain, dyspnea, constipation and difficulty in micturition, knoxia root, genkwa flower (Flos Genkwa) and Chinese date are used in combination (powders or decoction), as in Ten Jujube Decoction (Shi Zao Tang).

2. For furuncles and carbuncles, powder of kansui root is used externally on affected part or by oral application for clearing heat and detoxication.

Dosage and Administration: The ingredients of the herb do not dissolve in water, so it is better to use the herb in bolus and powder 0.5-1g each time. Vinegar preparation may decrease may decrease its toxicity. In general the herb is often used externally.

Precautions: The herb should not be used for pregnant women and weak patients. It is antagonistic to liquorice (Radix Glycyrrhizae).  

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